• This car was raced by Dan Gurney and Dick Smothers.
  • It’s an example of the evolution from the front-engine cars to smaller, lighter rear engine cars.
  • Many features in present day passenger cars were developed on the speedway, such as mechanical systems, safety features and comfort.  



The first Indianapolis Motor Speedway 500-mile Classic was held in 1911 and the winner, driving a 5-cylinder Marmon Wasp at an average speed of 74.59 mph, was Ray Harroun.  Since that time, except for war years, the annual race has grown to become one of the world’s greatest sports events.

At the same time, the famed race course has fulfilled the ideas of its founders by leading the parade of progress for the entire automotive industry.  High compression engines, four-wheel brakes, balloon tires, hydraulic shock absorbers, torsion bars, fuels and lubricants, various chassis designs, safer tires, better spark plugs, better piston rings, lighter and more durable metals, fuel injection, magnesium wheels, and many other features adding to the safety and comfort of present day passenger cars were developed on the Speedway.

Yamaha Motorcycle Company sponsored this Indianapolis race car, driven by Dan Gurney in 1965.  Its Lotus chassis is powered by a Ford double-overhead-cam engine.  Ford engineers developed this 494 hp. V-8 racing engine in 1964.  Many of its features are basically similar to the Fairlane passenger car engine from which it was originally derived.  For 1965, the engine received a number of modifications such as improved lubrication, improved air induction and, of particular significance, the new Ford fuel injection system.  The new system supplied a better fuel/air mixture to the cylinders, which resulted in an increase of fuel economy.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Gurney was running 4th when the timing gears broke and he stopped in his pit on the 43rd lap, unable to continue.  His average speed was 150.98 and he was awarded 26th finishing position.  The car was later campaigned by Dick Smothers of the Smothers Brothers comedy team.



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